paleontology

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New Dinosaur Species Named After Norse God
New Dinosaur Species
Named After Norse God
new study

New Dinosaur Species Named After Norse God

Lokiceratops had massive, blade-like horns

(Newser) - A dinosaur that researchers say is new to science has been named after the Norse god Loki not because of any mischievous tendencies, but because of its massive, blade-like horns. In a study published in the journal PeerJ , researchers say Lokiceratops rangiformis was one of many ancestors of Triceratops that...

Scientists Find Evidence of 'Age of Monotremes'
Scientists Find Evidence
of 'Age of Monotremes'
NEW STUDY

Scientists Find Evidence of 'Age of Monotremes'

A diversity of platypus-like creatures roamed Australia some 100M years ago

(Newser) - There are exactly five existing egg-laying mammals, or monotremes: the platypus and four echidna species, all native to Australia and New Guinea. According to new research, they're the last survivors of a diverse set of species that roamed the southern continents during the time of the dinosaurs. The Lightning...

Girl, 11, Helps Discover Largest Ever Reptile
Girl, 11, Helps Discover
Largest Ever Reptile
NEW STUDY

Girl, 11, Helps Discover Largest Ever Reptile

Ichthyotitan severnensis estimated at 82 feet long, with a 7-foot-long jawbone

(Newser) - It was the largest reptile to ever prowl Earth's oceans. At some 82 feet, this giant ichthyosaur would've been nearly as large as a blue whale, a marine mammal and the largest animal known to exist at any point in the planet's history. Yet the ichthyosaur, dubbed...

Dino 'From Hell' Suggests There Was No Decline
Dino 'From Hell' Suggests
There Was No Decline
NEW STUDY

Dino 'From Hell' Suggests There Was No Decline

New caenagnathid species, and a possible second, suggest this dino family was doing fine

(Newser) - Paleontologists have been debating whether the asteroid that killed non-avian dinosaurs took out a varied group of thriving reptiles or one already in decline . Now, researchers say they've discovered a new dinosaur species whose very existence disputes the latter argument. The argument is largely based on apparent declines in...

This Modern-Looking Reptile Skin Is Nearly 300M Years Old
This Skin Is Nearly
300M Years Old
NEW STUDY

This Skin Is Nearly 300M Years Old

Fossilized sample predating the dinosaurs represents oldest epidermis ever found

(Newser) - It looks a lot like crocodile skin, with a pebblelike texture someone might desire for a purse. But for the small sample size, you'd never guess it's 289 million years old, dating to the late Paleozoic Era, when many species were just beginning to venture from water to...

In Birdlike Tracks, an Evolution Mystery
'We're Pretty Sure
It's Not a Bird'
NEW STUDY

'We're Pretty Sure It's Not a Bird'

But what made bird-like tracks before birds existed isn't clear

(Newser) - The earliest known fossils attributed to ancestors of modern birds date to around 160 million years ago, which is why birdlike tracks discovered in southern Africa and dated to tens of millions of years earlier have become a fascinating topic of discussion for paleontologists. In reviewing 163 tracks found across...

Cat-Sized Koala Could Be Marsupials' Missing Link
There Was No Record
of Koalas Here. Until Now
NEW STUDY

There Was No Record of Koalas Here. Until Now

Cat-sized 'Lumakoala' could be marsupials' missing link in Australia's Northern Territory

(Newser) - The modern koala is a well-known and well-loved marsupial, but researchers know surprisingly little about its evolution. Indeed, they describe an "approximately 30-million-year-gap" in the fossil record of Australian marsupials, or diprotodontians, a group including kangaroos, wallabies, and wombats. That gap may be closing, however. Researchers say they've...

This Guy Might've Been the Heaviest Animal Earth's Seen

Meet the long-extinct Perucetus colossus

(Newser) - There could be a new contender for heaviest animal to ever live. While today's blue whale has long held the title, the AP reports that scientists have dug up fossils from an ancient giant that could tip the scales. Researchers described the new species—named Perucetus colossus, or "...

Before Dinosaurs, These Guys Had a Serious Eating Flaw

Rhynchosaurs had a single set of teeth they wore down to nubs, may have starved to death in old age

(Newser) - In the age before the towering dinosaurs we know so well from textbooks and Jurassic Park movies, an ugly-cute creature about the size of a pig called the rhynchosaur roamed the Earth, chomping on tough plants with a single row of teeth. As the New York Times reports, they were...

Dino Claims Longest Neck Known to Man
Dino Claims Longest
Neck Known to Man
NEW STUDY

Dino Claims Longest Neck Known to Man

M. sinocanadorum had a 50-foot-long neck, made up of mostly hollow vertebrae: study

(Newser) - Think giraffes have long necks? Paleontologists say a dinosaur that roamed northwest China some 162 million years ago had a neck eight times as long, making it the "longest-known neck in the animal kingdom," per IFL Science . Partial remains of the dinosaur, Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum, were discovered in the...

Ancient Marine Graveyard May Have Been Maternity Ward
Fossil Site May Be
'Ancient Maternity Ward'
NEW STUDY

Fossil Site May Be 'Ancient Maternity Ward'

Researchers describe how ancient ichthyosaurs traveled to Nevada site to give birth

(Newser) - Scientists have uncovered new clues about a curious fossil site in Nevada, a graveyard for dozens of giant marine reptiles. Instead of the site of a massive die-off as suspected, it might have been an ancient maternity ward where the creatures came to give birth, per the AP . The site...

A New 'Swimming' Dinosaur Emerges
You've Never Known a
Dinosaur Like This Before
NEW STUDY

You've Never Known a Dinosaur Like This Before

'Natovenator polydontus' is first found with streamlined ribcage for swimming and diving

(Newser) - Paleontologists have discovered a dinosaur unlike any other known so far. Its Latin and Greek name, Natovenator polydontus, means "swimming hunter with many teeth." Yes, swimming. "I think like a swimming Velociraptor is a pretty good characterization," Philip Currie of the University of Alberta, co-author of...

This May Be 'Missing Link' in T. Rex Evolution
This May Be
'Missing Link'
in T. Rex Evolution
NEW STUDY

This May Be 'Missing Link' in T. Rex Evolution

Ancestor 'Daspletosaurus wilsoni' offers further evidence of linear evolution

(Newser) - Paleontologists have uncovered a new species of tyrannosaur that they say serves as a "missing link" in the evolution of Tyrannosaurus rex. Experts from the Badlands Dinosaur Museum in North Dakota were digging at the Judith River Formation in Montana in 2017 when paleontologist Jack Wilson spotted a flat...

Fossil Discovery Spurs Believers in Nessie
Fossil Discovery Spurs
Believers in Nessie
NEW STUDY

Fossil Discovery Spurs Believers in Nessie

Study suggests ancient plesiosaurs lived in freshwater bodies of water, though not Loch Ness

(Newser) - A new study offering some of the best evidence yet for ancient long-necked reptiles living in freshwater lakes has been seized upon by believers in the Loch Ness Monster. Plesiosaurs, small-headed beasts with flippers that disappeared from the fossil record 66 million years ago, certainly inhabited Earth's oceans. There...

Paleontologist Calls Gorgosaurus Sale a 'Disaster'

Rare skeleton was sold for $6.1M

(Newser) - A rare and exquisite Gorgosaurus skeleton sold for $6.1 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York City Thursday—but since the anonymous buyer apparently wasn't a museum or an unusually wealthy paleontologist, scientists say they find the sale concerning. Gorgosaurus was a distant—and faster—relative...

This Could Change Theory on the Origin of Humankind

Australopithecus africanus fossils in South Africa are a million years older than we thought

(Newser) - The earliest species of human is thought to have evolved from East Africa based on fossil findings, including that of the famous Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis who lived in what is now Ethiopia some 3.2 million years ago. But that theory might now be shifting thanks to new findings...

Remains of 'Hector' Just Sold for Really Big Bucks

Skeleton of dino that inspired velociraptors in 'Jurassic Park' was bought for $12.4M at auction

(Newser) - "Hector" has been sold. The skeleton of the Deinonychus antirrhopus dinosaur species, said to be the inspiration for the velociraptors in 1993's Jurassic Park, was auctioned off by Christie's on Thursday to an undisclosed buyer for $12.4 million, more than double the price the auction house...

Scientist: This Dinosaur Died on the Day of Asteroid Strike

Leg was among many finds at North Dakota site that preserved the 'death blow'

(Newser) - The asteroid that hit the Earth around 66 million years ago brought an abrupt end to the Cretaceous period—and to the life of a Thescelosaurus dinosaur whose incredibly well-preserved leg was found at a North Dakota site. Researchers say they can pinpoint the day of the dinosaur's death...

Lost Continent Explains a 34M-Year-Old Extinction
Lost Continent Explains
a 34M-Year-Old Extinction
NEW STUDY

Lost Continent Explains a 34M-Year-Old Extinction

Researchers discover Balkanatolia, an ancient island turned land bridge

(Newser) - About 34 million years ago, native fauna disappeared from Western Europe, as mammals from Asia took over. The extinction, known as the Grande Coupure or "great break," might as well have been called the great puzzle. For decades, researchers have been unable to explain how animals from eastern...

Controversial Take: T. Rex Is Actually 3 Species
Controversial Take:
T. Rex Is Actually 3 Species
NEW STUDY

Controversial Take: T. Rex Is Actually 3 Species

Research team wants 'tyrant lizard king' joined by an 'emperor' and 'queen'

(Newser) - Tyrannosaurus rex is the most intensively studied dinosaur in the world. Yet generations of paleontologists have failed to notice that T. rex is not a unique species but actually three, according to new research published Tuesday in Evolutionary Biology . "This paper is likely to rock the paleo community, and...

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